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Full text of "My Country And My People"

SOCIAL    AND    POLITICAL    LIFE           183

scholars as a class entitled to privilege and extra courtesy, and
with the difficulty of acquiring a knowledge of the Chinese
written characters, this respect comes from the bottom of their
hearts.

VI. THE MALE TRIAD

But do the scholars deserve this respect? Mental labour is
decidedly higher than manual labour, and the inequality
really seems quite natural. The conquest of the animal king-
dom by mankind was based on man's greater cerebral develop-
ment. Through his mental development, he justified his
supremacy over the animal world. But, of course, one can ask
the question whether, from the animals' point of view, man has the
right to take away the mountain forests from the lions and
tigers and rob the buffalo of the prairie. The dog might agree,
but the wolf might think otherwise. Man justified it merely by
his greater cunning, and the scholar in China did the same.
He alone knew the treasure of knowledge, he alone knew
history and the law, and he alone knew how to murder a man
by the dexterous use of one word in a legal brief. Learning
is so complicated that respect for it is natural. He and his
kind form the so-called "gentry" class in China. To continue
the forest analogy, the gentry are the parasites, which have a
way of reaching the top of the highest tree without great
effort, and all Chinese banyans are surrounded by such para-
sites. In other words, they can reach the trees and whisper a
kind word for the sap of the earth, incidentally pocketing a
commission. More than that, they often undertake from the
tree the duty of draining the sap of the earth.

This is the so-called "tax monopoly system" which is ruining
both the financial condition of the people and the national
revenue itself. These tax monopolies are the feeding ground of
the local gentry, an evil which has been greatly aggravated
since the establishment of the Republic. Actually, a tax
monopoly which is bought out from the city government at
thirty thousand dollars a year yields two to three times its
price. The sap goes to nourish the parasites. The pity of it is
that the people are duped without any benefit to the govern-